THE UNACCOMPANIED: POEMS

THE UNACCOMPANIED: POEMS

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In The Unaccompanied, Armitage gives voice to the people of Britain with a haunting grace. We meet characters whose sense of isolation is both emotional and political, both real and metaphorical, from a son made to groom the garden hedge as punishment, to a nurse standing alone at a bus stop as the centuries pass by, to a latter-day Odysseus looking for enlightenment and hope in the shadowy underworld of a cut-price supermarket. We see the changing shape of England itself, viewed from a satellite "like a shipwreck's carcass raised on a sea-crane's hook, / nothing but keel, beams, spars, down to its bare bones." In this exquisite collection, Armitage X-rays the weary but ironic soul of his nation, with its "Songs about mills and mines and a great war, / lines about mermaids and solid gold hills, / songs from broken hymnbooks and cheesy films"--in poems that blend the lyrical and the vernacular, with his trademark eye for detail and biting wit.